There’s no shortage of media that romanticizes the idea of the thief. A recent example that springs to mind is Persona 5, where everyday high school kids fight against terrible authority figures as a group of stylish thieves, but other classics like Robin Hood paint a similar picture of the thief as a noble rogue who deals with injustice the only way they can, laws be damned. That’s not really the case in Seven: The Days Long Gone. Our hero here is a more traditional thief, the sort who’s out for loot moreso than morals.
See, the post-apocalyptic world of Seven is a tough place for a thief. You’re always on the run, always hiding from the law, keeping an eye out for the next score despite the danger…if you’re drawing parallels to the contemporary antics of Justin Bieber, you’re not the only one. Teriel’s been in the thieving business for a while and he’s pretty good at it; he’s even good enough to pull off a heist at a heavily guarded mansion. While the heist goes off without a hitch, though, the score itself has its own plans – it’s a daemon that knocks Teriel out, ensures he’s shipped off to the prison island of Peh, and, upon their arrival, explains that Teriel’s now going to work for as an agent for the Emperor. Life definitely isn’t easy for a thief and it’s not getting any easier as a possessed thief.
Teriel’s adventure around and across Peh involves numerous objectives, from getting some better gear than the standard prison garb to further heists. Given the focus on stealth, it ends up playing out as something of an interesting combination between an action-RPG like Diablo and one of the classic Thief games; Teriel’s actions are molded somewhat by stats and gear like the former, but like the latter there’s a strong emphasis on mobility and situational awareness. Stealth and subterfuge are key, and while Teriel can defend himself in a pinch and can even become pretty good at combat in general, I found it was the path of greatest resistance. You’re at your best when you’re skulking around.
Mixing those two styles of game is certainly ambitious, and on many levels it works. There’s much less concern about stumbling into guards you didn’t realize were around when you’ve got the greater visual control offered by this style of game. There’s cute quirks added in that give Seven its own unique feeling, as well – for instance, picking locks and stealing items will pause the game aside from when you’re performing the actual criminal act, allowing you to reconsider further crimes if the situation is looking dicey. The RPG side of things works as well, with progression focusing on the acquisition and use of Nectar to upgrade Teriel and with the story and writing being surprisingly decent and engrossing all around. For a game that was initially worrying me with fears of jankiness, Seven clearly boasts a fair amount of love and attention to detail.
That’s not to say it’s entirely jank-free, of course. For a thief, Teriel has real problems keeping his dumb thiefly head down and will happily pop back from a sneaking stance upon any number of interruptions – including, say, getting too close to a low ledge that you might be able to climb over. This issue has been addressed somewhat in recent patches with further updates intending to deal with it entirely, and one can only hope that it ends up gone altogether as it makes stealth harder than it needs to be. There’s also the usual mid-tier PC game jank like odd animations (Teriel is fond of shanking someone by knifing the air a foot or so to their side) and some degree of crashiness.
None of that really ruins the experience, though as mentioned it does make the game a little harder than it should be. Seven’s strong world-building, interesting characters and dedication to its concept are enough to make it worth a recommendation regardless of any strangeness. Fans of classic stealth games and lesser-known RPGs like Divine Divinity are likely to have a good time with Seven.